Letter: Cheap and nasty: English tourists in the US

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Sir: I am a tour director who has spent many years taking British/

English folks throughout the United States on bus tours. My impression of the English is that they are quite negative, gloomy, rude, whiny, and complainy in a backstabbing sort of way.

They are negative because although they say, 'We English never complain,' they always do. They often snap, 'Did you order this rain for us?' The English hate to carry umbrellas in America in the summer. They complain about the large portions here, too. 'They give you so much.' 'Shame to be so wasteful.' Everything seems to be 'shame' or 'the problem is'.

They seem to lack a basic enthusiasm for things. The only time they really smile is if they are told some dopey little joke or if they see a free basket of apples at the hotel desk. They are basically bored by the beautiful Thousand Islands on Lake Ontario. And when they visit our spectacular Smithsonian Institute, their main concern is the oppressive heat in Washington DC. At Niagara Falls, the tack and glitz are what they comment on, not the beauty of the falls.

But never mind their rudeness and pettiness, let's talk about their cheapness. The word is out: 'The Brits don't tip]' They will come up with any excuse possible not to tip the appropriate amount. I cannot tell you how many times I have taken an English group into a bar or restaurant and not one of them left even a dime. They know darn well that they are supposed to tip, but they purposely don't. Tipping is not optional in this country, and we, the people of the United States of America, are being robbed when you take our services without paying for them.

And when it comes to the comment sheets after the tour, they are outright fiendish. They never forget the cold eggs they had one morning, or that the curtains were torn in their room one night, or that you forgot their name. The Brit will cut you no slack when it comes to complaining, and his cracked smile is no clothe for the black skunga that's buried deep in his miserable soul.

Yours faithfully,


Tour Director

New York

4 January

(Photograph omitted)